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Listen to Lewis Hamilton and Kamui Kobayashi at the FOTA Fans Forum, UK
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Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jun 2011   |  6:01 pm GMT  |  33 comments

FOTA Fans’ Forum, UK. Part 2: Drivers by James Allen on F1

You can listen to all of the audio from this afternoon’s FOTA Fans’ Forum discussion involving Lewis Hamilton and Kamui Kobayashi on the SoundCloud link above.

Predictably, fans’ questions largely revolved around their prowess in overtaking. Although one fan asked Hamilton what question he would ask Ayrton Senna if he had the chance.

“I’d ask him how he managed to qualify a second ahead of the rest in Monaco that time,” said Hamilton.

Both drivers agreed that of the three aids to overtaking in F1 today, KERS tyres and DRS, the latter is the most powerful and interesting.

“I love the new tyres, Pirelli have done and amazing job,” said Hamilton. “The DRS is probably the most unique part. It makes it easier to get closer to people. The DRS gives you the opportunity to catch them up and overtake, so that’s been cool. Before we had it it was very difficult to overtake. What we’re trying to achieve with it is to put drivers in a position where they are able to make the manoeuvre. Of course there are some opportunities when you can breeze past someone before you get to the braking zone. I passed Michael last weekend and it was able to move back onto the racing line, so it was way too easy. I watched the replay and Eddie Jordan said it was a special move. Just shows what he knows about it!”

Kobayashi agreed. “DRS is a cool system. At the start of the season we were worried because it’s a new system and we didn’t know if it’s safe. After a couple of races we see that it’s unique. Psychologically it’s important because it’s not just for overtakes, some times we need to use it well, like when you catch a backmarker.”

A straw poll of fans earlier in the Forum, during the team principals section, showed that the majority of fans were prepared to give the DRS a chance and didn’t find it artificial. Around a quarter of the 300 people present said they found it made overtaking ‘too easy’.

There was also an interesting question at the end about the point of view of the onboard cameras and how different it is from what the driver sees. Hamilton suggested that a camera on each side of the driver’s helmet would be a good thing. “The view is completely different,” he said. “It would be cool if you guys could see what we can see.”

You can download lots of photos free from the event by clicking here PHOTOLINK

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DRS = Sitting Duck Overtake…

Taking a candy from a baby would be harder.


would i be right in saying that DC used a helmet cam in his last race before he retired? I thought it was a brilliant camera shot and given that it was almost 3 years ago, im surprised they havnt had it since



First of all the FOTA Fans Forum is just great. I wish could be there at one of the event.

Your question about Kamui’s move on Fernando in Valencia last year was a surprise for me. It was like ‘entertain’ the audience in a building where Fernando probably not the most popular person. I wonder if you would ask the same question if this event would be held at Spain or Italy…

Last year in Valencia Kamui switched to the soft tyres late in the race and it was easier to haunt down cars running with worn hards.

For me and I think for most of the fans the overtakings at the Suzuka hairpin were much more remarkable. Not only because it was at a place where overtaking is not likely but also the number of the passes there.


The observation actually compliments Alonso, James brought up that specific one presumably because Alonso is such a great driver. However great the move taking a Toro Rosso or Force India for 10th can’t compare.

I think this maybe a cultural thing, on this blog what would be compliments to a Brit are frequently taken as smears by some non-Brits.


We all know what the circumstances are but everyone has to use both types of tyre and it’s about who gets to the end first. When you drive Sauber it’s pretty impressive to give yourself the chance to be on the same turf as a Ferrari let alone pass Alonso


If they put a tiny HD camera on each side of the drivers’ helmets, they could then combine the feeds for 3D broadcasts!!!

So not only would viewers see stuff from the driver’s POV, but you’d get an awesome sense of depth and speed.

We would, of course, need to buy expensive 3D tellies… 🙁


About that helmet camera thing. I think it would be brilliant. I have thougt about it for a long time, why they did’nt have a camera in their helmets.

Take a look on some testing Felibe has done whit a helmet cam.. It looks so cool.


Felipe* Sorry 🙂


Regarding the helmet cams – I seem to remember DC using one in his final race for Red Bull at the end of the 2008 season in Brazil. Unfortunately he crashed out fairly early so we didn’t get to see too much of it, but whatever happened to that technology?


Wonderful day at McLaren and the FOTA fans forum yesterday would have been great if we could have taken photos in certain areas though and I would have liked a freer question session rather that James deciding which questions to ask.

One question I so wanted to ask was how the teams felt about and feel about the current excessive use of the safety car, the Canadian Grand Prix start under the safety car was a farce as was it’s use later in the race where the cars followed for way too many laps.

I also noticed that time and time again the team principles kept referring to the commercial rights holder as ‘he’ (Ecclestone), may I remind them that Ecclstone doesn’t own the commercial rights!

Lastly we talked about access, it’s have been great if the F1 people had mingled with the truest fans for an hour after the forum, I mean how often do FOTA have fans forums?


Many of them did. Two of the team principals and all of the engineers were around for ages. James Allison was one of the last to leave


Thanks to McLaren for the book we were all given.



I’m no McLaren fan, but respect their history and look forward to delving into the book.


That could come across as overly negative! When I say I’m no McLaren fan, I mean I don’t support them but at the same time I don’t dislike the team!


It was clear by the lack of posts in the last days that you was very, very busy with the FORUM, James, congrats.

An amazing job for all F1 fans.




Great job James, great questions & answers. Part 1 & 2 were the most interesting IMO. Happy for those who managed to attend & discover MTC.

Given Ferrari importance in F1, their lackluster participation in FOTA meetings with fans is a bit surprising. Do they have a hidden agenda & are really into FOTA or only using it to put pressure on Bernie


Ferrari have been in two of the three FFF events so far and Domenicali will be in the third one in Italy in September


Great interview. Interesting hearing Lewis talk about the cameras, I remember the driver Paul Tracey in the old Champ Car series in the states about 10 years ago had a little camera in his helmet at every race, it was off centre but gave a really interesting view, I’m surprised F1 hasnt tried to make use of that technolagy as well.


I remember watching that footage and going “whoah!” at how violent it looked. Would be interesting to see it in F1 broadcasts.


Amazing event. Thanks a bunch to everyone who organised the event especially yourself James.


Fantastic stuff, James, very interesting to hear from Lewis and Kamui. Obviously the most authorised voices to speak about overtaking and the new rules.

I see this year the FOTA Fans Forum is going to two locations out of the UK. Any plans for a wider presence (or to different countries 😉 ) next season?


I’d like to think so


Well where do I start? It was a great day and I have to say a big thank you to James, McLaren and FOTA for making it happen. I would also like to say thank you to Santander for my tickets and I am so excited for next weekend!

It was great getting up close and personal to Team Principals and Personnel and of course a very friendly Kamui Kobayashi. It was a shame not to meet Lewis in person but I’m sure we’d all rather see him win in Silverstone than to get an autograph and, look on the bright side I’m sure most of you are going to Goodwood this weekend and then Silverstone the week after because I certainly am. I’m sure there will all be a chance to meet him there! And anyway, I came away with 6 more autographs than I expected and afterall, I did get 6!

It was also great listening to the people who know F1 and also you guys. Seeing all the history at the MTC was also fascinating but I wish we could have seen more but of course the limits to what fans can see was discussed in the Forum.

Finally, The Brownies at the MTC were excellent and I was very pleased with the book I came away with which I seem to remember being £40 on the McLaren eshop! I have to say Thank You everyone and can I come again?!


Fantastic Forum, thank you James for covering this!

One question though: none of the questions for both sessions came from females 🙂

Talking of a male dominated sport. But luckily the wifes of team principles / staff are sitting at home with the online split-times watching – cool revelation!


We had a question all about women engineers in the Engineers’ section. THere were quite a lot of women there and one of them walked off with a prize of 3 day grandstand tickets, 2 nights hotel and transport links!


I really enjoyed that interview James, and you are be congratulated for this wonderful site that you have put together.


I was at the forum and it was a thoroughly interesting day, glad i attended!

James you did a great job as MC and deserve a thank you for keeping the event running smoothly.


Thanks for your positive comment


Your welcome!

You mentioned that you sometimes put comments posted on this blog to the F1 community so i’ll tell you about my idea (as it’s a question i didn’t get to ask today).

Why not have a rookie session, like the old A1GP series used to have, on the Monday after a GP weekend, that way it doesn’t interfere with the F1 should the rookie have an incident in the car, it doesn’t cause a problem for organising the support races to F1 and all the teams are present with cars and mechanics. Everything needed is already in place. It just gives some F1 experience to younger drivers, maybe if this was done earlier Esteban Gutierrez could have stepped in for Perez instead of Sauber having to poach a driver from McLaren.


Is this the beginning of a James Allen F1 podcast where you get drivers on weekly?


You had to be there! Great FOTA fans forum well chaired by James, kept it smooth, kept it to time and kept enough humour with the serious business of supporting F1…. A truly great event. Thanks also to McLaren hospitality and the icing on the cake as we left not only a gift but a thank you from MTC Guy for me visiting them! Superb.


Fantastic event. Up close to Team Principals and Top 2 overtakers on the grid. I’m sure the lucky people that got tickets will never forget this event. Thanks for the free photos too! #FOTAFans Forum

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